NEWS

Luka Magnotta trial: Berlin man met accused through dating service

10/08/2014 01:51 EDT | Updated 12/08/2014 05:59 EST
Luka Magnotta was generous — a man who threw his money around as he frequented bars and restaurants in the four days he stayed in Berlin, according to a German man who let Magnotta stay in his home after the two connected through an online dating service.

Frank Rubert, who is testifying at Magnotta's first-degree murder trial in German through an interpreter, told the court that while in Berlin the accused kept his money, around €5,000 (equivalent to about $7,000), in a sock and insisted Rubert take what he needed.

Magnotta was arrested in Berlin on June 4, a week after some of Jun Lin's remains were discovered outside a Montreal apartment building. He is charged with five offences, including first-degree murder in Lin's death. 

Rubert and Magnotta met at the end of May 2012 through an online dating service for men, GayRomeo, the witness told the court, and even provided a printed log of the chat.

The transcript entered into evidence begins on May 31, 2012, and one of the first messages is from Magnotta, writing under the name william2323, saying: "I am seeking residence to live. I want to live with kind man."

Rubert offers his apartment, and receives a jubilant response from Magnotta, who is in Paris and ready to book a bus ticket: "I LOVE YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!! ...you are very very kind!!! I need help and I am lost and thank you!!!"

Rubert told the court that when Magnotta arrived at the bus station in Berlin, he looked scruffy, with greasy long hair. They went to Rubert's apartment and the accused stayed there for four days, although communication was difficult since the witness speaks only German, a language Magnotta does not know.

Rubert said he never found out where Magnotta was from, only that the accused told him he had come to Berlin from Paris for a new start, after breaking up with his boyfriend.

Magnotta went by 'Kirk' or 'William'

As he testified, Rubert called the accused "Mr. Magnotta," but Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier asked him to be specific.

Rubert said that while in Berlin, Magnotta called himself either Kirk or William, but he wasn't certain. The witness also spent long moments during pauses in his testimony staring at Magnotta sitting calmly in the bulletproof prisoner's box.

The witness told the court he does not usually read the news, but on June 4 he took the subway, picked up a newspaper and realized his guest resembled the photo of a man police were searching for.

He told the jury he called police and informed them that "maybe he had a murderer" staying with him.

Magnotta was arrested at a Berlin internet café several hours later.

Magnotta has entered a not guilty plea to all five charges he is standing trial on, but he has agreed to the facts of the case, including that he killed Lin.

His lawyer has told the jury he intends to prove that his client was not criminally responsible for his actions because of mental illness. He told the court Magnotta suffers from schizophrenia.

The Crown prosecutor in the case told the court he will present evidence that shows Magnotta had documented a plan to kill someone six months before Lin's death.

The trial continues this afternoon.

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